Nov/Dec 2013

Welcome to issue #98 of Tape Op.


In this issue we're proud to feature one of the most compelling articles I think we've ever run: the documenting of Manny Nieto's journey to China and Southeast Asia, culled from years of email correspondence, as he attempts to record local musicians in a variety of locations. What started as a slightly crazy idea bloomed into several years of travel and tracking; and, in the end, Manny's life was changed in many ways. But the one lesson I really took away from his experience was one of personal growth as a human who records other humans. When we immerse ourselves in the world of music recording it's easy to get jaded, burnt-out, or to take this work for granted. But we must always remember the reasons we are here in the first place. To recall "those emotions, like the first time I plugged a mic in" — as Manny puts it — is important to our understanding of who we are and why we are involved in the art of capturing sounds. We must always question the ways we work, how we interact with artists, and always make sure we are doing something we believe in. You'll see a different version of this journey in Ed Stasium's studio life. Lou Whitney has also carved a career path in a dissimilar, yet compelling, way. Every one of these people remain excited about music, musicians, and creating new art. Or as Lou says, "I've never met anybody in this business who got to the top who wasn't a fan."


PS: It's sad to report that we lost another friend in the recording world. Mike Spitz of ATR Services and ATR Magnetics passed away October 12th due to illness. ATR is still making analog tape, repairing decks and carrying on Mike's fine legacy, but he will be missed by many.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Manny Nieto: Recording in China

by Larry Crane

Manny Nieto got bit by the recording bug after working with Steve Albini [Tape Op #10/87] on Nieto's band Distortion Felix and their I'm An Athlete album in 1999. Nieto quickly built a studio in East...


Columns See more →

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #98

by Andy Hong

In the previous issue, I described how my "nerd vest" and "nerd bandolier" have been essential trappings while my broken bones are healing. I'm unable to hold things in my hands while crutching around...


Gear Reviews See more →

xfilter 500 stereo equalizer

by Elysia  |  reviewed by Eli Crews

I've been intrigued by Elysia's line of products for some time now. After a few encounters with their stuff at various studios, I became impressed with the sonics and innovative features of their...

C1LA stereo compressor/limiter

by Smart Research  |  reviewed by Eli Crews

Building upon the foundations of the renowned SSL G Series bus compressor, Alan Smart drew on years of experience working for SSL to create the first (that I am aware of) rackmount clone of what was,...

comp.two compressor

by Rockruepel  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

The Rockruepel comp.two, designed and hand-built by Oliver Gregor in Germany, is the successor to the [Tape Op #86], released in 2011. The received excellent reviews, and surprised...

Samar MF65 ribbon mic

by Samar Audio Design  |  reviewed by Mike Jasper

The other day, I took a ribbon microphone made in Salt Lake City, UT by a pro audio manufacturer born and raised in Russia to a downtown Austin, TX recording studio owned and operated by a musician...

Spirit Professional headphones

by Focal  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

We're studio rats. We're never happy with our speakers or our headphones. It's always onto the next thing, until we sigh and go crawling back to an old favorite. Or do we sometimes find a new...

Juggernaut Twin mic preamp

by APA  |  reviewed by Jim Chapdelaine

I'm not going to be at all coy about this. I won't pretend to be neutral as I describe the Juggernaut Twin mic preamp. I am smitten. After months of owning it, I find myself still reaching for it and...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

Sound System box set

by The Clash | reviewed by Jeff Slate

There's been some grumbling on the Internet amongst fans of The Clash claiming that the band's lavish new box set, Sound System, is a pricey totem more befitting the perennially reissued Rolling...



Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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